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Ryan Newhouse's picture

The 20 Best Low-Carb Craft Beers for Keto Diets

Beer is not always the enemy of waistlines and active lifestyles. A variety of beers on the market can be part of any weight loss plan, even the popular keto diet.

The 20 Best Low-Carb Craft Beers for Keto Diets

It must be stressed that beer “can” be part of the keto diet, as it would be inaccurate to say “always.” It’s a matter of knowing your body and finding the best low-carb craft beers for keto diets. Thankfully, there are plenty beers out there from which to choose. We've outlined the 5 best beers for keto diets.

What is the keto diet? “Keto is the abbreviated name for the medical term, ketosis,” explains Kylene Bogden, NBA dietitian and CEO of FWDfuel Nutrition Consulting. “When an individual is following a ketogenic diet or in a state of ketosis, he or she is in the metabolic state where the body is using fat as its primary source of fuel.” People following a keto diet are either in ketosis or out of it; often they know this by how they feel, whether their breath has a distinct fruity smell, or by measurements taken from urine testing strips.

Ketosis is a natural process the body uses to survive when food intake is low. During this state of ketosis people produce ketones, which are created from the breakdown of fats in the liver. The ultimate goal of a well-maintained and closely monitored keto diet is to force one’s body into this metabolic state. This is done not by starving bodies of calories, but by starving it of carbohydrates.

The keto diet can go by a few different names, such as the low-carb-high-fat (LCHF), and it’s often listed alongside diets like paleo and Atkins, but these latter two differ in their approach, fuel sources and macro nutrient targets. On the keto diet, a typical plan derives calories from macro nutrients according to these percentages: 60-70 percent from fat, moderate protein intake, and very, very low intake of carbohydrates (at most perhaps 30 grams a day). Hence why beer has a delicate role in those trying to lose weight on the keto diet.

“No matter what nutrition approach you decide to follow,” says Bogden, “your plan should always be individualized. When following this approach, carbohydrates must be kept low (5-10 percent of total calories) but carbohydrate intake and tolerance level will differ from person to person. Consuming low-carb beer may work for some when following a ketogenic diet, while others find themselves falling out of a state of ketosis after five sips.”

Most people who follow the keto diet for successful weight loss do so under the guidance of a professional dietitian or nutritionist who can design a plan meant for specific goals and body types, including making recommendations about beer intake.  

If beer will work for a person on a keto diet, it’s a best practice to choose the lowest-carb beers on the market, typically ones that have five grams of carbohydrates or less per 12-ounce serving, as do all of the following beers on this list.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This list previously featured North Coast Brewing Co.'s Scrimshaw Pilsner, but the brewery announced recently that its carb count was incorrect due to faulty lab work. We have added a replacement beer in its stead.

From most carbs to least, here are some of the best low-carbs for the keto diet:

PrimeTime Bridge Brewing Co.


Bridge Brewing Co. 

Carbs: 1.5 grams

ABV: 5 percent

Calories: 110

PrimeTime, which announces itself with the tagline "No Compromises" is a crisp and refreshing craft lager brewed in Vancouver, British Columbia. Featuring some of craft beer lovers' favorite hop varietals, such as juicy Citra and El Dorado, this 5 percent ABV brew clocks in at 110 calories and an extremly low 1.5 grams of carbs per 12-ounce can -- the lowest amount of carbs on this list. A perfect "go-to" low-carb craft beer for keto dieters.

Bright Tangerine Devils Backbone Brewing Co.

Bright Tangerine

Devils Backbone Brewing Co. 

Carbs: 2 grams

ABV: 4 percent

Calories: 90

This extremely low-carb craft beer from Devils Backbone Brewing Co. in Lexington, Virginia is a spritzy, tart ale that's termed as a "Sparkling Ale" by the brewery. Featuring only 2 grams of carbs per serving, this delicious brew is one of the lowest-carb beers on the list. This refreshing brew is available year-round, so be sure to nab a sixer wherever Devils Backbone beers are sold.

Rosé Lager Surly Brewing Co.

Rosé Lager

Surly Brewing Co.

Carbs: 2.25 grams

ABV: 5.2 percent

Calories: 127

The only Rosé wine-inspired beer on this list, this style of sour beers has recently taken off in popularity due to its refined nature and elegant flavor profile. Surly Brewing Co., which is know for its more brash IPAs brewed out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, hit a home run with this zesty and delicious lightly tart lager with black currants and strawberries, which features just a notch over 2 carbs per serving. Excellent for beer fans on the keto diet that also appreciate a fine Rosé wine now and then.



dstarcher's picture
Great article. This info is very helpful for beer lovers following a low carb diet. I did find a couple of inaccuracies, however. Slightly Mighty is 3.6 grams of carbs per serving, not 2.6 grams. And Sünner Kölsch is 2.1 grams of carbs per 100 ml, per the brewery. It took me forever to find it and then I was quite disappointed to find out that the 500 ml bottles were 10.5 grams of carbs each. Still on the low side but too much for me while doing keto.
Editorial Dept.'s picture
Hi dstarcher, Good catch on the Slightly Mighty, that change has been made. The addition to the Sunner Kölsch has also been made, which means one must share a bottle with another to stay in ketosis (easier said than done)!
RichInLife2's picture
Nice article. I just wanted to add that low-carb isn't just for folks on keto diets. As a type 1 diabetic, I'm always on the lookout for beers that are low-carb and satisfying. I also wish that brewers were more forthcoming about the carb counts in their beers. If not listed on the can/bottle, then post it on their websites.
Editorial Dept.'s picture
Hi RichInLife2, Certainly you're correct, and low-carb beers are also good for those looking to generally cut down on carb intake and perhaps try healthier brews. Also agreed on the fact that carb counts are fairly difficult to ascertain.
Adamant's picture
Great list. Not sure if something has changed, but the omission light lager cans advertise 3g carb and 99 cal per can.
Adamant's picture
Here’s a quick way to get a rough estimate of carbs, if you can get the calorie count from somewhere like myfitnesspal. For a 12oz beer, 5% ABV, the first 98 calories come from alcohol (14g x 7 cal/g), the rest is almost entirely carbs (at about 4 cal/g), there might be a little protein, too but it might be better to over estimate carb counts than underestimate.
ooeybc's picture
Informative item, but PrimeTime at 1.5g of carbs and 5%ABV -- not Scrimshaw Pilsner at 2.0g as you suggest -- is the lowest carb beer on your list. PrimeTime's makers, Bridge Brewing in North Vancouver,BC, now also have a Primetime IPA, with the same specs. Both are delicious.
Editorial Dept.'s picture
Thanks for that equation, Adamant! A useful way to gauge carb counts for all beers.
Editorial Dept.'s picture
Good catch ooeybc, It has been changed within the story. Indeed, PrimeTime was listed before Scrimshaw but the copy had not been changed to represent that addition. Thanks for the heads-up!
Raymond69's picture
Dang, North Coast Scrimshaw is actually 11 grams of carbs ,